Monday, 9 November 2009


Murderer Denis Roberts has won his appeal against Jack Straw in his bid to have cosmetic surgery, with London’s High Court claiming that the Justice Secretary had acted unlawfully in trying to prevent the prisoner from having his port wine stain removed, courtesy of the NHS.
Roberts said the birthmark on the left side of his face had led to him being bullied at school and was linked to a violent temper. A consultant dermatologist recommended him for treatment three years ago, stating “This has always been an embarrassment to him.”
On a personal note if I was in the same room as some murderers and child abusers and happened to have a sharp implement handy, I’d probably use it. But, as a sentient human being, I agree that it is only right and civilised that prisoners should have medical treatment as and when they need it. But this case tests the patience of even the most passive, forgiving liberals.
Roberts was convicted of the murder of an elderly couple, the Hadlers, in Newhaven in 1989. He broke into their home and stabbed them to death. Mr Hadler was partially paralysed after a stroke and Mrs Hadler had senile dementia. Not content with leaving the defenceless couple to die in their own pools of blood, Roberts then sexually assaulted Mrs Hadler.
He committed this depraved and heinous crime and the thing that appears to prevent him from sleeping at night is a flipping birthmark?
Roberts and his legal team are clearly using the port wine stain to turn the murderer in to a victim. It led to him being bullied at school, which in turn gave him a violent temper, ergo he becomes a violent psychopathic murderer and it is not his fault - it is all the fault of that pesky congenital birthmark.
All of us are products of our upbringing. We may have been born into abject poverty, or suffered abuse or have inadequate alcoholic parents. This might lead to anti-social behaviour sometimes and it is not difficult to see why. But it is not an excuse. Especially not for violent behaviour. Even in the most extreme case that I can think of – Fred and Rose West’s children – reared with ritual abuse, murder and torture yet they are just trying to lead ordinary lives bringing up their children.
Roberts didn’t suffer abuse – he just had a birthmark.
He’s no victim. He crossed the line. He committed murder. The only victims here are the Hadlers and now, their surviving family. One can only imagine how this ruling will be affecting them.

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